Graphics Don’t Matter to Gamers as Much as Developers Like to Think

Crytek’s CEO, Cevat Yerli, has come out and said graphics matter for 60% of the game. If we look at Crytek’s games, most notably the Crysis series, it’s easy to believe that they think graphics are more important than story, character development, gameplay, sound and everything else that goes into creating a video game. The Crysis games are graphically gorgeous, but I personally feel that they fail to become anything more than just another shooter.

Yerli makes a good argument as to why graphics are so important.  He says: “Graphics, whether it’s lighting or shadows, puts you in a different emotional context and drives the immersion… And immersion is effectively the number one thing we can use to help you buy into the world.” Everything he says is true and even though gamers like to say they don’t care about graphics, it is the first thing you notice when playing a game. Amazing graphics immediately blow you away, but what developers need to realize that graphics, much like good looks, are only skin deep. Sure we’ll be amazed for the first ten minutes, but quite quickly we’ll begin to realize that maybe the story isn’t that great, or that the characters are really unlikeable. For example, many Final Fantasy fans have complained that the recent games have failed to be much more than pretty cut-scenes. Ultimately, developers need to realize that other factors are more important than graphics.

Back when video games were first invented, we didn’t care much for graphics. We were quite happy for a few pixels on a screen as long as the actual gameplay was fun. Now, times have changed and gamers are more demanding, we expect the graphics to be stunning. Although you could argue that back in the old days, a few pixels on a black screen were incredibly impressive to us. However, even with all the visually stunning games out there, we still replay our old games. Why? Well, they not only because they bring back great memories, but they were also fun, and when it comes down to it, that’s all that matters.

far cry 3 blood dragon

Developers need to realize that most gamers aren’t that vain. We won’t care if your game isn’t ground-breaking graphics wise, as long as your game keeps us entertained and has a good story. If you went back to about five years ago, you could probably argue that graphics were the most important part of a game, but now, we’ve kinda seen it all. Yes, every so often a new game comes out and blows us away graphically, but it’s rare these days. Now, we expect more from story. We want something fresh and new, as we almost expect a game to match up to blockbuster movies. We expect good graphics, but it’s not the be all and end all any more.

Perhaps Crytek need to take a good, hard look at their games. Yes, Crysis 1, 2 and 3 all look amazing, but do they actually break any new ground? It’s especially hard with a FPS, as it’s a genre we’re all becoming increasingly bored of.  So many first person shooters fail to be new and innovative, and they end up being bland as a result. Plus, retro is all the rage right now.  Just look at Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. It shows that not only do gamers love to replay their old games, they love new games which are made to look retro.

Developers, graphics aren’t so important and they certainly should not account for 60% of the game like Crytek believes. Video games were created to be fun, not to look beautiful. Let’s focus on having fun and telling a story that will make us want to play today’s games in ten years time.

(Thanks to thesixthaxis for the info)